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The top 3 technology trends disrupting construction and real estate

Feb 17, 2019

First in a four-part series on technology in construction and real estate. Read the rest of the series:

Part II: How to optimize basics in client relationship management (CRM) tools
Part III: The return of prefabrication
Part IV: The rising trend of blockchain

Although most construction firms use technology, much of it manages projects and eases the burden of back-office tasks.

When it comes to investing in cutting-edge technology, or even a tool like a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, it all comes down to whether the firm has the money and time to implement.

It seems like you either have the time to take on a technology implementation during a slower period but not the budget to invest in it, or you have the money but you’re too busy with projects and jobs to research, invest in and implement a technology solution.

Then there’s the added fear of a failed implementation, which stems from past experiences in not being able to get the adoption you needed. As you know, this makes investing in technology even riskier — but it’s also why change management is so vital.

Regardless of time, startup costs and managing change, many construction firm leaders are beginning to see how much technology can actually help save money, attract and retain qualified employees and grow their firm.

But even those who are still unaware of some of the benefits have experienced pressure from large businesses that are forcing contractors to use their specific technology to allow better collaboration and analysis.

It’s coming from the customer experience, too. Cutting-edge technology is being offered to clients, from investors to building occupants, but construction and real-estate firms traditionally haven’t taken advantage of the same or similar technology internally. That’s starting to change.

So, the construction and real estate industry is due for what could be called a technology revolution.

Three trends have emerged that are bringing with them some pretty big benefits. We’re going to cover each one in depth in different articles, but here’s a sneak peak of the top three technology trends disrupting construction and real estate:

1. CRM basics

A trend right now is simply optimizing the basics. From accounts payable to time entry to field data collection, implementing technology to automate processes can not only save you money in the long run but also save your employees a significant amount of time, allowing them to focus on core priorities like growing your business.

We’ll dive deeper into which technologies, including CRMs, can do this in Part II of this series. Read it here.

2. Prefabrication

We know prefabrication isn’t new, but despite all its benefits, not enough contractors take advantage of it. Many don’t have the right technology, even though they understand prefabrication well and know it would benefit their business.

But that’s changing. Technology like building information modeling (BIM) is evolving to better support prefabrication, and it’s on the rise. You can see it everywhere from a 21-story apartment tower with a timber frame to articles on how prefabrication helps combat the labor shortage.

Part three of this series will focus on how you can use technology to enable prefabrication. Read it here.

3. Blockchain

Blockchain is on the horizon for the construction and real estate industry. A major benefit we see coming sooner rather than later is providing savings when it comes to litigation. When you include all documentation for a construction project in blockchain, which is an immutable ledger, you prevent one party from saying an issue happened one way because you can show irrefutable documentation proving it happened another way. Blockchain is going to be very big in construction for the litigation benefits alone.

Part four in this series is forward-looking, touching on blockchain’s potential — and looming — impact on construction and real estate. Read it here.

Getting the most out of technology

If you feel like you’ve fallen behind your competitors in implementing key technology, consolidation can help you catch up.

The old trend of buying one technology tool to solve one challenge is long over. It’s now about tearing down siloed technology and integrating it across the business for seamless use, data analytics and greater efficiencies.

What tool works best for your business? Contact the technology and construction and real estate specialists at Wipfli for a free consultation.


Matt Gelb, VTSP, MCTS
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Kenneth F. Kortas, CPA
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